PHOEBE is pleased to present the first exhibition of Virginia Poundstone’s work in Baltimore, Maryland.

Blue is the most elusive color in botany. The molecular structure that creates a true blue hue is an extremely complicated mix of pigments, enzymes and minerals. The scarcity of this perfect mix is precisely why these blooms are so desirable. As with any luxury product, knock-offs abound.

The Blue Rose (1) Nature does not make a blue rose. Laboratories around the world have been racing to crack Nature’s code to force it to do so. After more than a decade of research, the closest a partnership between a Japanese consumer product company and an Australian biotechnology company has been able to achieve is a pale purplish blossom. While genetic engineers continue their efforts, factories have been filling the market’s desire by using fabric dyes to turn white roses blue. These falsies are the subject of this show. It is significant that the dyed blue rose thrives in the marketplace demanding a price almost four times as much as its unmanipulated counterpart. Injected with pigment, like botox injected into faces, these engineered roses become artificial stand-ins for the meaningful scarcity Mother Earth provides. Maybe this show should be called Artificial Becomes Most Meaningful. Not yet. The show is called The Blue Rose.

1.If possible, please visit Jay DeFeo’s painting, The Rose, on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art


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Virginia Poundstone: The Blue Rose

April 2 - May 1, 2016